Duke Beat: Basketball Season Starts, but No Reason to Forget Football

November is upon us and that means Duke Basketball season has started.

For countless fans that is what they’ve been waiting for since March, but for those year-round Duke fans the football season isn’t quite over. Even in the wake of another lopsided loss to the Florida State Seminoles, there is still reason to care about something other than basketball for a change.

And it goes beyond the fact that Duke is 6-3 (3-2 ACC) and already bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. Losing to Florida State badly isn’t something that should have come as a shock to anyone.

Duke is much better yes, but they still are a long ways from being a program capable of competing with an upper echelon program like Florida State.

On my site this past week, I predicted Duke to lose to the Seminole 53-13; the final score was 48-7, so I wasn’t that far off. I knew what the Blue Devils were heading into and while I hoped that they might be able to shock the world, I figured though that the athleticism of Florida State would ultimately be too much, and I was right.

Moving forward, even the casual Duke Football fan can see that next week things don’t get much easier against Clemson, arguably the second best team in the ACC. Those casual fans are also very well aware that Duke tips off the Basketball Season on November 9, and with one exhibition game already in the books and one more to go, they are already shifting their attention.

For years Duke Football was an afterthought by this point in the football season, if not sooner. Football games were merely a way to pass a Saturday before the start of basketball season. This year things are much different, but will the fans respond?

They did respond last week in a big rivalry win over North Carolina, but will they show up again this coming Saturday when Clemson comes to town, especially knowing that the odds might be almost as high that they can beat the Tigers as they were for them to beat the Seminoles?

Will they show, or will all their attention turn to basketball season?

If Duke loses next week as most would most reasonably expect them to, they still have two regular season games and believe it or not, even with two consecutive losses, have a shot at winning the ACC’s Coastal Division.

Their last two opponents are Georgia Tech and Miami. Both are likely to be favored but both games are, at least at this point (depending on injuries) winnable games.

Neither team has been impressive this year, and prior to the Blue Devils’ game against the Yellow Jackets, they will have had two weeks with their bye, to rest and prepare for the triple option attack. This may very well be the best opportunity Duke has to beat Paul Johnson’s attack, something they rarely did when he was at Navy and never have at Georgia Tech.

After that, Miami comes to Durham for the regular season finale. If Duke can find a way to win those games they could end up with at least 8 wins and a spot in the ACC Title game.

That is a lot of ifs, and those who have watched Duke Football long enough know that holding out hope can be a risky proposition. But for the first time in some Duke fans’ lifetimes, the Blue Devils have given reason to at least ponder such questions in a realistic way.

I’m not saying it will happen, but the fact is that before the Duke fans throw all their efforts into the basketball season they may want to wait out the rest of this football season. There certainly are a lot of reasons not to forget about the boys on the gridiron.


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Duke Sports BlogMike Kline is the operator of DukeSportsBlog.com, a site dedicated to coverage and analysis of Duke Football and Basketball from a fan’s perspective. He is also a regular contributor for DukeReport.com. Mike does a monthly podcast with Jim Oliver of Duke Report focusing on Duke Basketball and occasionally football. Mike is a long time Duke football and basketball fan. A former journalist, Mike is now a mild mannered middle school teacher by day and blogger by night. Follow Mike on Twitter at @DukeBlogMKline

Follow Inside the ACC on Twitter at @InsideTheACC.

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